Columns, The 'Write' Information

The Spin-off

When writing a series, most people don’t consider life after it’s finished. If an author has done his/her/their job well, fans will have grown attached to the characters and should be sad to see them go. This is a marketing opportunity far too many authors lose out on. Secondary characters, when given enough exposure, can branch out into new adventures, satisfying your need to write and your fans’ need for more of what they already love.

To do this there has to be at least one loose end not tied up by the last page of the final book in the first series. While your original plot must be satisfied and complete, side plots are easily woven into your plans that can lead off in other directions. All you need is a reason why a supporting role needs to branch off on their own.

These are a few ideas to consider:

A supporting character moves into a new place or position of authority that allows them to start their own story.

Albeit the main villain has been dealt with in a plot, a villain in a supporting role could escape and begin a new chapter in his/her/their life, wreaking havoc.

A copycat villain could spawn.

The relative of a villain could take over the role of mastermind.

A new investigation could prove the previous villain was not the actual bad guy.

An apprentice could take over as the main character.

The final battle could lead to a specific quest for a supporting character.

A new individual could become the ‘chosen one.’

The main objective, in my opinion, is to ensure that the main protagonist and antagonist are dealt with in a way, at the end of the first series, that allows them to disappear from the storyline carrying forward. That doesn’t necessarily mean death, but definitely a reason why they are no longer on the scene.

Keep in mind you want to create a stand-alone novel that your previous fans will relate to, but new readers won’t be required to invest time in the first series to understand.

Thanks for joining me, I hope you’ll pop by next week for another edition of The ‘Write’ Information.